South Kalimantan is full of vivid and characteristic traditional arts and cultures which can be seen in its people's ways of life, art, dance, music, ancestral dress, games and ceremonies. Exquisite traditional and commercial handicrafts are all made from local raw materials which include a variety of precious and semiprecious stones, gold, silver, brass, iron and a wide variety of wood including bamboo and rattan. South Kalimantan is one of the largest wood producers in Indonesia; extensive forests with a wide variety of trees such as iron wood, meranti, pinus and rubber have helped to make the province a unique and rich natural resource. The southern section of the province, however, is much flatter and is characterized by large and powerful rivers, meandering through lowlands and depositing enormous of silt, at vast mangrove swamps all along the coast helping to make South Kalimantan an exceptionally fertile land. Many villages and settlements hove been built along these rivers, particularly the Barito river, by the indigenous majority, the Banjar. The Meratus mountain range ( with the highest peak Puncak Besar at 1,892 metres above sea level ) dominate in the centre of the province, effectively dividing South Kalimantan into two distinct regions. The eastern part of the province is mountainous and lush with dense tropical rain forests and is home to the "Orang Gunung" or Mountain People. Collectively called Dayak, they form the minority of the region's population.


Banjarmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan developed into business and industry city, lies at the delta of the Barito river. The city is intertwined by numerous rivers of various sizes and lengths, the major one are Martapura and Nagara. The numerous rivers made the city get its nickname River City. These rivers and waterways give a certain identity to river transportation have become common place. Local people build traditional floating houses made of wood or bamboo (called "lanting" ) along the rivers. Rivers have been very important for business and economic activities. This is one of the reasons why there have been floating markets everywhere. Making trips along Barito and Martapura rivers by "klotok" boat will give a unique satisfaction. The actual living of the people is along the rivers.

Floating Market
Pasar Floating market in Barito river is a busy and colourful collection of small boats and canoes. The buying and selling are made in the traditional local boat. Such market has started since 400 years ago while people coming from the hinterland took their local products to sell in the form of barter. The usual thing about the market is that it takes place entirely in the river and it start approximately at 05.00 in the morning and finishes at 09.00 in the morning.

Pulau Kembang ( "Flower Island" )
The island is in the Barito river, not far from the floating market. This island is a conservation forest of about 60 hectares, inhabited by tame crab-eating monkeys, some believe that spirits live in these monkeys, so they can't be bothered or harassed. This island is mostly visited by Chinese Indonesians, as there is a small shrine, where they place the offerings.

Pulau Kaget ( Kaget Island )
Kaget Island is in the Barito river, it is another forest conservation and is also inhabited by the proboscis monkeys and many sorts of birds.

Cempaka & Martapura
Cempaka is an old site of traditional diamond digging using very simple equipment. The digging is a collective work by a group, usually consisting of one family and its close relatives. Martapura is the centre of diamond and precious stones polishing; it is also the centre of diamond marketing. The polishing work uses traditional as well as modern equipment.
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